Feeling like your new job is a big mistake? Then this career advice from The Naked CEO Alex Malley may help…
Met with an abundance of new personalities, expectations and processes, the first few months in a new job is usually an intense period of familiarising yourself with the unfamiliar, as swiftly as you can.
But what happens if after five or six months into the job you find yourself waking up every morning dreading the day ahead? Regret has reared its ugly head – you feel as if taking the job was a mistake.
Seemingly, there’s only one solution – to hit the emergency eject button and find something else.
Before handing in your notice, ask yourself and honestly answer the following before making any serious decisions about your future with the organisation.
Have I experienced this before?
At the start of my career I was guilty of critiquing and blaming everyone and everything for my job dissatisfaction; an attitude that followed me from one job to the next for longer than I should’ve let it.
It would take me years to realise that it was my impatience and unrealistic expectations that were accountable for my discontent and subsequent decisions to jump ship relatively early on. As I was so preoccupied with looking outward rather than within, I didn’t consider my own contribution to the way I was feeling.
What I should’ve done was critique the value of my frustrations, question whether I was making mountains out of molehills. If I’d just taken a moment to consider, “I’m in a new business, these are new people, but here I am picking all these things to pieces like I did in my old job – there’s only one constant in this situation…Me,” I would’ve saved myself from a lot of time wastage.
Self-reflection is an effective compass in navigating the way forward. Truly knowing one-self, the good and the ugly, can help you discern whether your concerns are justifiable, or just a concoction of negative thinking habits.
Why did I accept the job in the first place?
What motivated you to apply for the role? What excited you about it? Reflecting on the answers to these questions can often help reignite your passion, diminishing the weight of your issues in the process. It’s about working out what you’re prepared to put up with.
Of course, not everyone takes a new job because they’re genuinely excited about it. Some are lured by the increased pay cheque or impressive sounding title. This is risky business in my opinion. Most of us spend the majority of our life working, so finding a role and organisation that you’re genuinely excited about joining should be the central priority. The only caveat to this is if you were unemployed and needed a job quickly, a vastly different scenario of necessity over desire.
Have I pin-pointed exactly what I don’t like?
Identifying the core of the problem is essential to making a rationale decision. Sometimes one can become so overwhelmed with negativity that even small issues seem monumental, feeding discontent and frustration. Any positives are overlooked or undervalued.
If certain personalities are rubbing you the wrong way, guess what, you’re going to find these people in all work environments. That’s par for the course in business. Finding your responsibilities boring or unchallenging? Then focus on what you can do to earn increased responsibility. Be proactive, volunteer to take on additional work where possible. And be patient – you’re only a few months in.
Thoroughly exhaust your exploration for opportunities within the organisation before searching outside.
Have I made genuine efforts to improve my situation?
Improving circumstances often takes time, patience and energy on your behalf. Prioritise making attempts to remedy the issue and don’t give up easily.
The approach you decide on depends on the issue at hand, but, generally, ensure you always maintain a professional and positive attitude. Avoid letting your mindset descend into one of negativity or hopelessness, as these feelings will eventually rise to surface, impacting your attitude, performance, and reputation.
Perseverance is an essential quality in your career; keep plugging away at the problem until you can confidently say you gave fixing it your very best shot.
Have I been suffering in silence?
Your boss isn’t a mind-reader. Avoid letting your concerns fester to a point where you abruptly resign, blindsiding your boss who could’ve helped rectify things had you just raised it.
Through an honest, yet, constructive face-to-face dialogue, feed your concerns back to your boss. This isn’t about venting a multitude of complaints and expecting to receive immediate solutions. You should be armed with tangible examples of the issue(s) at play, as well as proof points of how you’ve attempted to handle the situation yourself. What you’re looking for is guidance, to set some practical objectives with your boss to work towards.
“But it’s my boss that’s the issue,” I hear you say. Remember, the first months are a period of discovery for your boss, too. They’ll be identifying your strengths and weaknesses, how to encourage the best out of you, so give them time to do so.
If, after a reasonable amount of time, it doesn’t look like a better dynamic will eventuate on its own, raise it with them in a constructive and respectful manner. Sometimes they will simply be unaware that you’ve been struggling with their management style and will want to address how you can.
Other times, they’ll have their reasons for their management of you. Given what drove you to this conversation, don’t be surprised if their perception of how you should be managed contrasts to your own. What you need to ask yourself is whether they are so disjointed that you believe they’re irreconcilable. Most aren’t in my experience, particularly when there’s no confusion about their point of view, which is what this conversation should hopefully provide.
Remember, every working relationship require degrees of flexibility and compromise. Most will never be perfect, so don’t beat yourself up trying to make it such.
Edited from The Naked CEO